tv Senator Marco Rubio Calls for Renewed Focus on Western Hemisphere CSPAN May 9, 2017 12:56pm-1:34pm EDT
[applause] good samaritans who painted over the vandalized slayers written on a neighbor's house so when they came home they would never have to see those letters. a defaced defaced sign on a spanish language church that local pastors covered with posters. >> just couple minutes left in this discussion and video. you can see it online. let's go live to comments from senator marco rubio who is delivering the keynote address at the conference on americans in washington d.c. he chairs the foreign relations committee on the hemisphere. >> i would like to introduce our speaker senator marco rubio and welcome his team. during his time in the senate, since 2011, senator rubio has been a strong advocate for shared prosperity in economic growth throughout the hemisphere. as a member of the foreign
relations committee he plays an instrumental role in developing and influencing u.s. foreign policy across the world. he remains particularly vested in growth and development in the western hemisphere. as chairman of the subcommittee, transnational crime, civilian security, democracy, human rights and global women's issues, senator rubio works to advance a common agenda and shared values that the united states has with the region. he has been a leading voice on human rights and democratic principles in the hemisphere. in cuba and in venezuela. as a venezuelan american married to a cuban american, it's something i particularly appreciate. his values are rooted in his family's achievements from humble origins from his parents arrival to this country in 1956, earning their
way to the middle class, then his unlikely senate victory against a much favored primary opponent. these experiences have shaped the courageous leadership and determination to tackle deep rooted challenges. it led to his first on the political scene. we thank you for your leadership on issues of such great consequence. the united states relation in the western hemisphere and your friendship with the council of america. thank you very much. welcome senator. [applause] >> thank you, thank you very much. about a month ago i had to buy these at walgreens but something happened overnight and my eyesight started to
deteriorate. is that normal after you turn 45? i'm really honored to be here with you today. i want to thank the council of the americas for inviting me to speak. it's a great honor to be here with you and in this benjamin franklin room which is named after our founding father and the father of international diplomacy in the united states. in particular i want to begin by thanking the chairman of the council for the american society and susan, president and ceo of the american society. i hope you get a good night sleep, we have a busy day tomorrow. it's an honor to be part of this conference. i think this is an exciting time with regards to the united states and the western hemisphere because it gives us an opportunity to rethink policy. in many ways, outside normal
convention. since the end of the cold war, there has been a lack of focus at some of the highest levels of our government in the western hemisphere and that needs to be reversed quickly. our future of economics and security is deeply tied to our region. i say our region because we are a member of this region. often time we talk about the western hemisphere as if it's happening somewhere else. we are a part of that. those in south florida know full well you are a part of it economically, socially and politically. it's an honor to be here with you today. i wanted to share my thoughts gathered over five or six years in the senate, spending a lot of time, let me say i'm troubled that u.s. foreign policy in general and foreign policy against the western hemisphere is tactically driven rather than strategically driven. we spend a lot of time discussing tactics.
sanctions are sanctions. military action or no military action. i do not pretend to have the all-knowing strategy on how to pursue the western hemisphere, but i do know we have ideas that we intend to share with the new administration, with the people who work in this building and my colleagues in the united states senate and with each of you here today. while these are not necessarily universally accepted concepts of the strategy, i think they lay the groundwork for a way forward that is neither partisan or controversial. let's begin by constructing the three pillars of what i hope our safety and security
will be built upon. expanding economic prosperity, and defending our values. all three are equally important. they are not ordered in any particular way, and they are all interrelated. it's impossible to do any of the three without the other two. let's begin to talk about how we keep america safe in the western hemisphere pit in my view it begins by countering illicit flows. as many of you are painfully aware, central america has the highest homicide rates of the area. there are maigret flows that have created a thriving business for smugglers in addition to the cartel. we need to ensure that we are partnering with the source countries to stem these flows which can be exploited by transnational groups and terrorists and others who are trying to bring illicit items, not just people but items into the united states.
what was strategy that tries to counter illicit flows look like? it begins with working with mexico and guatemala to tighten their own border security. perhaps by using our existing u.s. canadian program and having u.s. law enforcement agencies partner directly with our counterparts in mexico, if they invite us to do so, and working with other willing partners to enhance their border security at key points as well. by using the department of defense trained and equipped authority and build capacity with our foreign partners. by revitalizing the coast guard shipbuilding budget to ensure adequate presence in the caribbean and the eastern pacific, by providing u.s. southern command with greater resources for partnership engagement training. by convening regional discussions on how to dismantle the human smuggling network and it's my understanding that in june of
this year the department of homeland security will host one such gathering of foreign ministers from the northern triangle as well as other countries to discuss this and other issues of importance. by reassessing the lines for prosperity which i support about reassessing to ensure it's not replicating the mistakes we've made in the past and other programs, but the aid of adequately conditioned and that controls are in place to prevent waste and corruption, something that the recipient countries asked for as well. we should prioritize security funding using lessons learned from columbia and encourage columbia and mexican military training exercises with northern triangle countries. by focusing our systems on the region in developing institutions for security and the court system police forces and a special emphasis on mexico and building on aspects of that initiative.
[inaudible] by supporting anticorruption initiatives in honduras and the cic ag which i'm not sure has an acronym. and by holding countries that are not cooperative like bolivia, that are not living up to their obligations accountable and making clear u.s. assistance could be affected if they do not produce and implement a narcotics plan. by working with colombia and peru to resume eradication of cocoa plans to reduce cocaine production. by eradicating poppy plants to reduce heroin entering the united states. security also means addressing
the reality of outside actors. we are focused on global crisis throughout the world. many external actors have attempted to gain a foothold in our own hemisphere. international terrorist groups who have exploited criminal networks for purposes of raising money could also use these networks to access u.s. territory. the region has not been immune to the rise of isis and other militant groups like our friends in trinidad will talk to about. u.s. avid adversaries and sometimes foes have sought to exploit anti-american sentiments in the region. to counter these disturbing trends, there are number of things we should do. first we should make clear that the united states does not expect other countries in the region two's trade solely with us, but we will not allow our enemies to establish a foothold in the region, to
speak out and to support pro- american leaders, pro-democracy leaders, responsible leaders who seek the cooperation of the united state states, and to make clear that america is not going to leave a vacuum in the region for others to fill. by utilizing trade agreements through increased economic engagement in the region including by leveraging the economic power of our allies in asia and by assisting u.s. companies to bid for sales in the region, increasing u.s. support and our reporting of the monitoring of nonstate actors in the region. by deepening intelligence cooperation a military relationships with key latin american partners and assist those such as argentina to take countering outside influence seriously, by working to build the capacity of smaller states, as i mentioned like trinidad and it's about go.
[inaudible] at the same time, stand up, up to organizations that deliberately exclude the united states. that is the first pillar of our security. that alone will not be enough. in fact, that will not be possible and to we do the other two things for the second would be expanding our economic prosperity, and that of our neighbors because it is not a zero-sum game. greater economic opportunity for our neighbors not only makes it less likely that migrants will come to the united states in a way that's illegal or regular, but it actually helps build these economies that become consumer and trade partners with us. the absence of the tpp, we need robust trade agenda for the hemisphere that makes clear to our partners that china and other actors are not the only or should not be an alternative to the u.s. market. this talks about things like forging closer economic ties with countries, including
prioritizing free market reform and tackling corruption and helping our partners who enact policies connect and deepen their economic relationship with the u.s. allies in asia and other regions. by modernizing nafta, but ensuring that the process of doing so does not send the message that the united states is closed for business. higher tithing and strengthening intellectual property, stricter labor standards. nontariff barriers and custom procedures. make clear that modern modernization is not hostile to mexico or canada but designed to be beneficial to all of us. accelerate the growth of a robust regional private sector through what i call a presidential level initiative called the america economic freedom initiative, to show partners in the region there is not a need to join the asian infrastructure investment bank. this would not be based on foreign assistance but with ways to incentivize capital markets and other measures to
develop a regional community independent and the production of distribution of a range of products and service, interdependent, i apologize, particularly energy, allowing smaller countries to become less reliant on regimes for energy needs. a partner with our caribbean neighbors to develop alternative sources of energy so they too can reduce their reliance on the regime. the second aspect of helping with economic growth is to fight corruption by making common cause the generation of new leaders that are battling corruption in guatemala and argentina, the civil society actors, by publicly speaking out about the cost of corruption especially to the poor in the region, as well to american exporters. by replicating the u.s.
columbia advisory council on a regional level, bringing together business leaders and anticorruption experts to discuss corporate governance, rule of law and ethics including countries like argentina, brazil, mexico and peru, nations that are open, active and looking forward to being engaged in initiatives such as this. use financial tools to impose sanctions for individuals and national noncompliance. the third, which is the 1i spent a significant amount of time on is defending our values. for me that begins by standing up to dictators and standing up for freedom and democracy. i fear, quite frankly, for the better part of 30 or 40 years, too much time has been used to placate hostile governments. during the cold war, we looked the other way as right-wing dictators took power and abused on their people. in the hopes of keeping out the soviet union. in the 21st century, we too we too often look the other way or outright neglected as
democracy and the rule of law have been canceled in places like venezuela and nick nicaragua and cuba. presidential messaging and leadership is critical and needed to reverse the perception that the united states is tougher on its allies than its adversaries. i hope we will, in a strategic way, recalculate the concessions i have been made to a dictatorship in cuba and will also finally begin to pressure the maduro government in venezuela to follow its own law laws, to hold an election and recognize its national assembly and respect the right of their people to assemble and speak free freely. the solution is one election away. there is no way the maduro regime can get elected to anyone and all we asked for is the elections be followed. i think it's important to isolate countries that repress
their people and refused to work to tackle these regional challenges. in that vein, it is critical that from this building and from congress and throughout government we place democracy and human rights at the core of the united states foreign policy in this region and throughout the world to ensure our assistance programs are reflective. i believe we need to engage at the organization. [inaudible] to rescue the american charter which was neglected for far too long by presidents of both parties, and make clear to our partners that they will also be expected to speak out, as many now are doing in argentina, brazil, mexico, colombia, peru and chile.
speak out when they are violating the rights of their own citizens. it's critical to reassure our allies. for far too long we've neglected many of our traditional partners in the region. we need to build on the deep ties we have with countries like canada, mexico, colombia, and grasp new opportunities that present themselves in peru and brazil and argentina. in particular, i believe canada can play a key role in promoting security, prosperity and democracy in the region and partners like columbia and mexico have great potential to expand their engagement within and outside of the hemisphere. that's why go back to it, but i think we need to empower the organization of american space to fulfill its mission, as stipulated in article one of the american democratic charter. i believe we need to develop new policy planning discussions of key partners in the region to discuss regional as well as global challenges. we need to engage more frequently with regional partners on issues unrelated to the western hemisphere. by establishing new military to military engagements with brazil, peru, argentina and expanding our current engagemen engagements with mexico, honduras, panama,
uruguay, chil chile, costa rica. to inquire acquisition of what i believe is the superior u.s. equipment and our allies also agree. by expanding south, north, relationships, exercises and programs to formalize military cooperation and security cooperation within the region. by reassuring the colombian people that the united states supports columbia and it will be conditioned on full compliance of the agreement and we will work with the colombian government, the democratically elected government chosen by the people of columbia, to ensure the crimes committed by the fark do not go unpunished and victims are adequately compensated. by reassessing assistant programs in the region and assure our aid efforts are having the desired impact in places like haiti and factors
such as corruption are not undermining the effectiveness of our support. we must make clear that fiscal ca constraints in washington dc, the united united states is willing to support those partners and we commit to dealing with security challenges that respect democratic norms of the rule of law and support these broader issues in the international forum. that's a lot to digest. i know it reads almost like a powerpoint but i wanted to get it on the record. so many of the things we want to do are guided by taxes. i said this last night about columbia, more often than not in the western hemisphere, our allies in the region are and answer, not a problem. more often than not we are more linked and we believe. i usually the media doesn't cover the western hemisphere
has much of the ones did. much global attention is paid to north korea and syria, and rightfully so. these are issues of incredible global importance but i think the extraordinary opportunity that exists in the hemisphere for a 21st century of shared prosperity are extraordinary and perhaps it's because i live in miami that i've seen it firsthand, i remember vividly, my wife is a colombian dissent and i remember the 1990s were not only was traveling to columbia to visit relatives out of the question but there was a fear that someone you love could be next, losing their life in a bombing, not because of clinical engagement but they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. too much effort, sacrificing with american assistance, the people of columbia went to be on the verge of a failed state to one of the strongest regional partners in south america and one of the most capable. all of that is the result of u.s. engagement.
not u.s. disengagement print again, the bulk of the responsibility fell on the colombian people and their leaders and they lived up to the responsibility, but we helped and it wasn't charity. it helped us to. you see it every single day in south florida. in the planes and containers that arrive with fresh flowers , creating extraordinary economic opportunity. you see it in the tourist that fly into orlando from argentina and brazil and venezuela and colombia, but you also see it in the decline in visitors and prosperity in places like venezuela. one of the richest resource countries on the planet with the average venezuelan lost 19 pounds in the last year end it wasn't a result of exercise or diet. it was economic calamity in disaster. you see, right there in two bordering countries the
distress of bad governance and bad policy and the opportunities of good leadership and economic engagement. this is what we hope your for the region. this is important. it's in our benefit as a nation. i can tell you, 40, 30, 20 years from now, we live in a hemisphere where we have more countries like mexico with a growing middle class, like columbia despite its challenges it has growing trade opportunities. like brazil which has gone through its constitutional process and will hopefully move forward like argentina which is embracing a free market and the opportunities it brings with it. will life in america be more prosperous and safer or less prosperous and safer. everyone knows the answer. mine hope is that from our seat in the united states senate, from our subcommittee and engagement in forms such as this, that we that we can
encourage more of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to engage in the western hemisphere and care about it at every level because i think the opportunities for our nation and region and for the world are truly extraordinary. the great thing about it is because we haven't been debating it for far too long as of now anyway, there are no partisan lines. there are no pre-existing positions. it's an open and blank slate and allows us to write it in a way that benefits america and americans in the broader region read i think you for the importance you've given it and continue to give it and my hope is that in the years to, as we come back and engage with you, many, many of the ideas you are producing and we've offered are becoming reality and the fruits are out there for all to see. i thank you for this opportunity to address you and i look forward to continuing
to hear from you, learn from you, work from you and achieve prosperity together with you and our partners in the region. thank you very much. [applause] >> senator, thank you for that compelling and thoughtful vision of u.s. engagement and cooperation in the hemisphere. now we have a few minutes for q&a. people will be circulating with microphones. please raise your hand if you have a question. >> thank you for your time and for letting us be here with you. you mentioned in your first part of your speech the relevance of what corruption does to countries. i'm from mexico and it's definitely one of our biggest challenges. one of the things that's feeding corruption, as you know,.
[inaudible] i'm sure you know about high-end demand. you didn't mention anything about the fact that the u.s. is really where the drugs are consumed. the drugs are killing mexicans coming from the u.s. and the money is coming from the u.s. to the border. do you have any reflection on that. >> at the very valid point. i don't talk about it in the speech because i kind of limited it, but you're right maybe we should re-examine that as part of the western hemisphere strategy. the first has always been true. sadly, america has been the market of choice for consumption of cocaine, marijuana, and now opioids in heroine. that remains the case. the other reality we are now facing is that as many of the nations have become more prosperous, consumption has increased internally as well so it's become a joint problem in that regard. to that, i would say couple points. we are facing this opioid
crisis in the united states. just today, as part of my appropriations role we continue to seek full funding for programs to prevent addiction which often begins with scription meds, but to also treat people as a medic medical condition. the research is as clear as i possibly can be. if you are addicted to opioids, you're your ability to break free from it without medical intervention is almost none. the problem is, for most people, those resources don't exist for it we try to work from the ground up in florida because ultimately where these problems are manifesting are at the local level. people become addicted, they're in the emergency room and they save your life with narcan and you're back out on the street. we see people six, seven times a week, sometimes multiple times a day of people who are overdosing on street heroin would absolutely, we have to
cut off the demand part of it but the supply part is important to because of what breeds. as soon as you cut off one substance, it breeds another. this will be an ongoing problem. you are fair to point out that i failed to mention that and that is the demand side. in years to come, sadly, as nations as nations become more prosperous, they will see an uptic uptick in consumption so we made to work with them hand-in-hand on developing best practices with them as well. what we are seeing in venezuela is a humanitarian disaster.
the unfolding of this is uncertain. what is the planning for a total collapse in humanitarian disaster that will take resources from the region. >> that's a great point. first of all, i spend a lot of time, i don't mean this in a condescending way but i spend a lot of time explaining the nature of the issue in venezuela because the traditional issue is a better governogovernment in power and civil society against them but that's not the issue in venezuela. you have a national assembly elected by the people of columbia despite rapid fraud against them that has basically been canceled. imagine that the president said i'm cutting off funding, i don't care what laws you pass we won't put them into place. we won't pay you any salary. you don't have money for ink pens, paper, anything and we just ignore the national
assembly and any law you pass. that's the state the state of affairs. then imagine if they say by the way were kicking out independent news outlet and the one that remains a get my friend tobias of a report my side of the story. then invite a foreign power like cuba to take over your passport operation and the like because you don't trust your own people to do it because you don't think they will oppress their own people. that's the situation we face. the demand of the opposition in venezuela, we say the oppositio opposition, they're the majority in the national assembly. under the constitution put in place, they are supposed to have elections this year. hold the election. under the constitution that you gather signatures there's has to be a presidential recall. they ignored it. they're supposed to be elections for the presidency a year from now. hold that election. follow your own laws. that is there ask red that's being ignored so, i've been very pleased to see nations in the region stand firmly.
you talk about the humanitarian crisis, that already exist. last week i filed a bipartisan bill to fund a bill that would be of assistance to help the transition in venezuela given the disaster they now face and what that means, to help the people in venezuela because it will be difficult to be successful after an election or transition. by the way, ideally, that's what i wanted to wanted to be. i wanted to be at the ballot bo box. i don't prefer to be any other way. it may end up being another way, but that's the way i prefer it. it would be be better for venezuela if it was at the ballot box. even if that were to occur, the societal challenges they face are extraordinary. if those are confronted, that new government will fail, creating more problems. the creation authorization of this bill is to provide
assistance as soon as we were able to provide it. the last thing columbia needs is a migratory crisis at their border. they already face challenges in the implementation of a peace plan and challenges faced by cartels in areas where the farc has decided to pull out. the last thing brazil needs is a challenge. that is also of assistance to them. we've offered the bill and it's in place we want to authorize the money but then we have to go out make sure it's in place and prepared to provide aid if necessary. i think this is an important moment for the region. america's voice is important and we should lead. i've been pleased that despite political views about the current administration, i will say this, i was able to take time to visit the venezuelan
president and i have received reports that he always asks about venezuela. i don't know if that meeting had that impact or something else, but that's good news. the open-mindedness that exists in the white house and other divisions to do something with regards to this and give it the regional importance it deserves. we have to follow through on it. that's what i'm working on. it's important. america's voice is important, but i think the most promising development i've seen is the nations in the regions, the democracy in the region willing to stand up and condemn it. i think that's had a greater impact and some of the things we have done i hope that will continue. one of the the best ways to create stronger ties with our allies in the region is to start doing things together. start engaging together in projects of joint interest. i think democracy in venezuela should be one of them. in many ways it has been a promising exercise in that regard as well. [applause]
thank you for your time. thank you very much. >> members will not be back -- will be back to determine the nomination of dr. scott gottlieb. a final vote possible later this afternoon. you can see the senate live on c-span2 when lawmakers gavel back in at about 2:15 p.m. eastern. also the senate will hold a
hearing on water for such projects and no water resources impact of local state and national economies. that begins live at 230 eastern on c-span. heidi heitkamp will join senator john mccains wife cindy mccain in the discussion just efforts to address human trafficking. the event is held live from new york university in washington, d.c., center at 6:30 p.m. eastern. you can can watch it on c-span. >> sunday night on "after words" physician and journalist elizabeth rosenthal examines the business side of healthcare in her book and american sickness, how healthcare became big business and how you can take it back. >> she is interviewed by dr. david blumenthal, president of the commonwealth fund. >> i was wondering if your book gave any thoughts about whether health care is a free market, whether we can solve our problem
in healthcare through free market forces. >> i think what we've seen is the answer is probably not. the beginning of the book i put a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of the economic rules of the dysfunctional healthcare market where if you see healthcare as purely a business proposition, that the market will solve, you get to crazy places like a lifetime of treatment is preferable to a chore. i am not saying for a second that anyone really thinks that, but that is were market forces put you right now. >> watch "after words" sunday night at 9 p.m. eastern. >> sunday on q&a, the comparisons between presidents donald trump and andrew jackson.
our guest on his book andrew jackson, seven or. >> i don't think he represents the positive values that jackson represented. he certainly represent of the negatives that jackson represented but i think i would tell president trump that if he wants to be like andrew jackson has to put nation in front of his own personhood, has to put nation in front of his own family, has to put nation front of his own it should because that's what jackson did for most of his presidency. >> sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. >> secretary of state rex tillerson spoke to employees at the state department headquarters last week. he didn't mention the trump administration blade to cut almost 10% of the state department workforce. >> ladies and gentlemen,, the secretary